Game 9: New Jersey Devils vs. New York Rangers
Your New Jersey Devils (4-1-3) will face-off against the New York Rangers (4-4-0) Tuesday for the first of four times this season, and the first time since the Now-Classic Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. Chances are, if you’re reading this, I don’t need to tell you how that game went down. During the regular season last year, the Devils split the season series with the Rangers (3-3-0) going 2-1-0 at the Prudential Center. Patrik Elias led the Devils in points (2G, 3A) while David Clarkson led the team in goals (3). After a 6-game series with the Rangers in the playoffs, the Devils finished 2011-12 with a 7-5-0 record against their cross-river rivals.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils are coming off a much-needed 3-0 win over the New York Islanders on Sunday afternoon. While the Devils continued to take more penalties than they wanted to, their special teams really warmed up to the task and killed all 7 of the Islanders power-play opportunities. The offense had some great chances, and did a much better job of maintaining offensive-zone pressure than they had in their previous two outings. The defensive effort also looked a lot more confident than they had recently, and played a much more controlled game. Johan Hedberg (1-0-1, 0.48 GAA, 0.980 Sv%) played extraordinarily well, making his biggest stop of the afternoon on a Grabner breakaway early in the third. The Devils will look for a repeat performance from all of their players (minus the penalties) against the team’s biggest rival on Tuesday.
New York Rangers
The Rangers played their most recent game on Saturday, defeating the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning by a final of 3-2. The game was a big bounce-back for the Rangers after they had been shutout 3-0 to the Penguins. The Lightning had won their previous 5 games before falling to the Rangers. Martin Biron got the call in net against the Lightning, giving Henrik Lundqvist a break after the tough outing against Pittsburgh. In 7 starts in 2013, Lundqvist has a 3-4-0 record, a 2.78 GAA, and a 0.904 Sv%. Biron (1-0-0, 1.96 GAA, 0.942 Sv%), has started one game, and filled in for Lundqvist 29 minutes into a 6-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. While the .500 start isn’t what the Rangers and their fans were hoping for, they’re always a dangerous team, and will come to play against the Devils come Tuesday evening.
What to Watch For
A Devils-Rangers game doesn’t need any build-up. Chances are, you know what you’re in for come Tuesday night. You know you’re going to get one of the best goaltending matchups one can ask for in today’s NHL in Brodeur vs. Lundqvist. You know you’re going to get a hard-fought game complete with bone-crushing hits and the occasional fight. And after last season, there’s probably a good chance DeBoer and Tortorella will scream at each other at some point in time during the game. To bad Pierre McGuire won’t be there tomorrow to be the awkward third wheel in their conversation…
According to the Devils website, Tuesday’s game is already a sellout, so expect The Rock to have a playoff hockey atmosphere to it, reminiscent of Game 6 last season. While some fans are questioning why the red-hot Hedberg isn’t getting the start against the Rangers, the answer is simple: It’s the Rangers. This is the stage Marty loves to be on and he always plays his best against the Team-in-Blue. The Devils will look to do a much better job of staying out of the penalty box. Even though the Rangers’ power-play is only 10% on the season (29th in the NHL) any time spent short-handed against a rival like the Rangers is dangerous. The Devils third line of Carter-Gionta-Bernier was deadly in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, and has been on fire to start this season, so expect another great performance from them. The Rangers will look for some more production from their offense, which has only tallied 19 goals so far this season, with 5 of those goals being scored by Gaborik. While their team total is only 1 goal fewer than the Devils after 8 games, the Rangers were hoping to have a much more high-powered offense with the addition of Rick Nash (2G, 5A).
The Rangers will be without their captain Ryan Callahan (shoulder) and the speedy Chris Kreider (foot), while the Devils appear to be fully healthy at this time. On Monday, the Rangers traded one former Devil for another, as they sent Mike Rupp to Minnesota, and picked up Nick Palmieri and Darroll Powe. Powe is expected to start on Tuesday, which Palmieri was assigned to the AHL.
Needless to say: It’s going to be a good game.
Posted on February 5, 2013, in Devils Army, Devils Army Generals, Game Preview, New Jersey Devils, New Jersey Devils Fans, NHL, Prudential Center, The Rock and tagged Devils Army Generals, Eastern Conference Finals, henrik lundqvist, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Prudential Center, The Rock. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.